A spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) told a news conference in Beirut on Friday (18 October) that the Organsiation warmly welcomed the United Nations' invitation to take part in next month's general Assembly debate on Palestine.
GV Newsmen and audience
SCU Dr. Nabil Al-Shaath at table
GV Portraits ad posters on wall
GV Dr. Al-Shaath speaks in English
AL-SHAATH: "The Resolution effectively gives the Palestine Liberation Organisation the right of representation of the people of Palestine, and the right of speaking before the Plenary Session of the General Assembly ... a right that is unprecedented before and a right that was given only to His Holiness The Pope as the only leader of a non-member state ever to speak to the general Assembly. This is an important step. It will give the palestine Liberation organisation an opportunity to approach people in the states that voted for the Resolution, to gain greater support for its just serving and to, in fact, neutralise some of the support that was going before to our enemy. The Resolution isolates Israel and the United States of America in the international community. And, I'm sure, it will put pressure -- even on the American people -- to try to adjust an extremely, historically-wrong decision by their Government to support the State of Israel and, therefore, to negate the very existence and the very rights of the Palestinian people."
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Dr. Al-Saath spoke to newsmen in both English and Arabic. Part of his statement in English appears on film. A transcript follows:
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) told a news conference in Beirut on Friday (18 October) that the Organsiation warmly welcomed the United Nations' invitation to take part in next month's general Assembly debate on Palestine.
Dr. Nabil Al-Shaath -- a close associate of PLO leader Yasser Arafat and the leader of the PLO delegation to the UN which pushed for the invitation -- told newsmen that the UN's invitation was "historically unprecedented", and that it gives the PLO an opportunity to adjust the "historically-wrong decision" which has denied "the very existence and the very rights of the Palestinian people".
The UN Resolution to invite PLO participation in the debate came on Monday (14 October) night. 138-nation body passed it by 105 votes to four (Israel, the US, the Dominican Republic and Bolivia voted against). The 20 abstensions included Britain, Belgium, Denmark, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and West Germany. France and Italy were among hose which voted in favour.
Israel was quick to denounce the invitation. A Foreign Ministry statement said the vote was not binding on Israel and that it showed the prejudice of the current membership of the General assembly. The statement said the PLO was not a liberation movement but "a roof organisation for terrorist groups". On leading Israeli newspaper said the UN had "given the green light to political assassins everywhere."
However, the Arab world -- and particularly Syria, which introduced the Resolution -- is jubilant at the move.
It is now expected that the PLO will form a provisional government in exile to represent the Palestinian people ... but this is not expected to happen until after the Arab Summit Conference, scheduled for Morocco's capital, Rabat, on 26 October.
No comment on the situation has yet been made by the other Palestine guerrilla organisations -- most notably the second-major one, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The PFLP, together with three others, form what is called the "Rejection Front".
The other three are the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (General Command), the Iraqu-backed Arab Liberation Front and the Popular Struggle Front.